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Kenya signs Alcohol Bill into law: Beats Ghana, pacesetter to it

By IMANI

Kenyan President Kibaki signed into law the Alcohol Drinks Control Bill that legalises the traditional liquor. The manufacture and packaging of these brews will however be strictly regulated. The brews will be packed in 250 millilitre bottles or more. “It was duly assented to by the President on August 13, 2010,” said the Speaker.

However the Bill also reigns into the high end beers market by regulating their advertising and sale. Consequently fancy adverts that glamorise alcoholic drinks, link beer to social success and therapeutic value will now be outlawed.

In a statement of support, Industry Association in Kenya said “we fully appreciate the intention of the Act that allows government to have greater control over alcohol standards in the country. NABAK condemns the production of illicit brews and supports government endeavours that support the production and sale of clean safe alcohol to adult Kenyans.”

Of interest to Ghanaians who are not happy with certain advertisements that hype the therapeutic values of some alcohol, the Kenyan Alcohol Act specifically states in Clause 45 (1) Subject to this part no person shall promote an alcoholic drink so as to create a false impression that –

a.A link exists between consumption of that drink and social sexual success

b.Consumption of that drink is acceptable before or while engaging in driving operation machinery, sports or other activities that require concentration in order to be carried out safely

c.That the alcoholic drink has a therapeutic value or that it has the ability to prevent, treat or cure any human disease

d.It is wrong or foolish to refuse that drink
The Ghana draft alcohol policy, which IMANI has been promoting over the last three years clearly follows the Kenyan example. The Ghana Alcohol policy was drafted in broad consultation with stake holders, i.e. the Association of Alcohol Manufacturers and Importers (AAMI) in May, 2008, government and civil society actors, but failed to receive cabinet approval at a time the 2008 elections was at its fever pitch.

IMANI believes that the implementation of a comprehensive National Alcohol Policy is essential, to ensure that alcohol is provided to the community with an appropriate level of regulation, and to protect those at most risk of harms associated with the misuse of alcohol.

Thankfully a review committee set up by the current government to oversee progress on the draft alcohol policy agrees with 95% of the draft. Now that Kenya has taken the wind out our sail, we hope that we can ride on the crest of their achievement and make an informed decision, but speed matters as the externalities associated with misuse of alcohol keeps rising.

See draft alcohol policy at http://www.aami.org.gh/files/Ghana_National_Alcohol_Policy.pdf

-IMANI Courts gov't to Adopt Alcohol Draft Policy
http://news.myjoyonline.com/business/200912/39390.asp